Another race in Texas means another new racing experience for Casey Mears. CHARLOTTE, N.C.--- The O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway will mark the first time Casey Mears has competed at the 1.5-mile oval, but it's not the first time the 24 ...
Another race in Texas means another new racing experience for Casey Mears.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--- The O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway will mark the first time Casey Mears has competed at the 1.5-mile oval, but it's not the first time the 24 year-old has visited the "Lone Star" state for a race.
In fact, Mears has driven in three different racing series and three different styles of cars prior to making his first start at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to Texas and making my first start at Texas Motor Speedway," Mears said. "I've had success in Texas before while driving in some different series and I hope the success continues."
Mears, driver of the No. 66 Phillips 66 Dodge Intrepid, is the son of off-road racing great Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears. Before joining the stock car ranks, the younger Mears gained his racing experience by competing in open-wheel cars, off-road stadium trucks, four-wheelers and go karts.
A rookie in this NASCAR Busch Series, Mears ran his first race ever in Texas at the Houston Astrodome during the mid-1990s in the off-road stadium racing SuperLite Series. Soon after, Mears began competing on a regular basis in the Jim Russell Pro Series before moving to the Indy Lights Series on a full-time basis in 1997.
While racing in the Indy Lights Series during the 2000 season at the Grand Prix of Houston, Mears captured the pole for the race and went on to win, his first victory in the Indy Lights Series.
"After my win people sent me letters and emails congratulating me," Mears said. "That win was great, and there are still some people that keep in touch with me. Texas is a great place and I've always had a lot of fun whenever we race there. There's always something to do."
In 2001, Mears made his first of four starts in the CART Series at the Grand Prix of Houston, finishing 17th in his debut.
"From everything I've been told, Texas Motor Speedway is a first class facility," Mears said. "Since the track was built I've looked forward to getting an opportunity to race there. "
As with any rookie driver in any series, gaining experience in the car and at the different tracks is crucial. The race at Texas will mark the first time this season Mears and his Welliver-Jesel Motorsports team have not tested at a track before racing there this season.
"We didn't test at Texas, but my teammate Hank Parker, Jr. did," Mears said. "That's one of the great things about having a multi-car team. Even though we didn't test there, we still have a starting point for when we arrive and I know the guys on my team will do all they can to help get the car dialed in for a strong run."